PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Shares in Ayala-led AREIT tumble in market debut

August 14, 2020 | 12:31 am [ ]

AREIT, Inc. the first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in the country, listed its shares in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Aug. 13. In photo are: Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) President and CEO and AREIT Director Bernard Vincent O. Dy; AREIT President and CEO Carol T. Mills; ALI CFO and Treasurer and AREIT Director August D. Bengzon; AREIT Chairman Jose Emmanuel H. Jalandoni; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  Chairman Emilio B. Aquino; PSE President and CEO Ramon S. Monzon and SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong. Photo courtesy of PSE

SHARES of Ayala-led AREIT, Inc., the country’s first real estate investment trust (REIT), tumbled in its market debut on Thursday.

AREIT’s shares closed 7.78% lower at P24.90 apiece from its offer price of P27, while the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed 1.71% higher on Thursday.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer E. Tan said there were “some technical issues with the brokers,” which contributed to the slump in AREIT’s share price.


“And also, the market was followed by uncertain sentiment. I think that the price discovery towards AREIT factored in also to the drop in share price,” he said.

At the listing ceremony, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Ayala Land, Inc.’s (ALI) REIT public offering signals that the market is ready to resume business after the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This public offering is a strong vote of confidence in our good economic prospects and in the resiliency of many of our industry sectors, some of which will be occupants of ALI’s REIT properties,” Mr. Dominguez said.

“It shares in the optimism that, notwithstanding the global economic downturn today, the Philippine economy has strong fundamentals to rise quickly from the devastation brought about by the global health emergency,” he added.

AREIT’s portfolio consists of three office buildings in Makati City: 24-storey commercial building Solaris One, mixed-use development Ayala North Exchange and five-storey commercial office McKinley Exchange.

“This global pandemic has indeed plunged the world into a recession. However, the Philippine capital markets are still looking hopeful with the introduction of the REIT as a new investment product,” Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Emilio B. Aquino said.

Mr. Aquino said he hopes there will be a “capital boom” in 2021. — Arjay L. Balinbin


Companies seen to prefer offices within townships amid pandemic

August 11, 2020 | 12:03 am [ ]

COMPANIES are increasingly looking to set up offices in townships, which also offer residential and commercial components. — PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

TOWNSHIPS will be the preferred locations for offices as employers try to keep their employees in close proximity, a real estate consultancy firm said.

Lobien Realty Group (LRG) expects some recovery when business returns, even after the pandemic prompted many companies to put expansion plans on hold and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) give “mixed signals” on their operations.

Total office supply declined to 751,000 square meters (sq.m.) from 1 million sq.m. in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year. The available supply declined to 378,000 sq.m. from 526,000 sq.m.


Half were leased out in the second quarter of 2020, compared to 47% in the same period last year. Vacancies decreased to 5% from 7.31%, while average rent rose to P1,195 per sq.m. from P1,110 per sq.m.

The company expects office space demand to recover by the end of the year, if the pandemic is contained within the second half.

Demand for office spaces last year mostly came from POGOs and the outsourcing industry.

POGOs occupied 36% of Metro Manila office spaces, taking up 1.16 million square meters of total office space or 10% of total leasable office stock in the country before the pandemic began. By June, five licensed POGOs shut down operations.

“These POGO operators are estimated to account for 11% of the total of 45 companies that are actively operating in the country. The travel restrictions imposed by both the Philippines and China will result in a slowdown of office take-ups from both POGOs and traditional occupiers,” LRG said.

The outsourcing industry still prefers the Philippines, the realty group said, anticipating more investments outside Metro Manila after an outsourcing business group partnered with the government to release their “Digital Cities 2025” or priority cities for investments.

There is 16% vacancy in leasable office spaces in business districts in the provinces.


Office supply in these areas rose to 307,000 sq.m. in the second quarter of 2020 from 297,000 sq.m. last year. The percentage of space leased fell six percentage points to 21%, with average rent rising to P620 per sq.m. from P551 per sq.m.

The company said that there is more demand for flexible workspaces, especially for startup companies and freelancers.

“They are often in prime locations in competitive areas, they are flexible in agreement periods, they offer a sense of community and crowd support services, they are aligned with the changing tech and business environment, and they provide access to pay-as-you-use facilities.” — Jenina P. Ibañez


POGO exodus pulls Manila office demand 74% lower in first half

August 4, 2020 | 12:07 am [ ]

THERE was zero office demand from Philippine offshore gaming operators in the second quarter. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MIGUEL ANTONIO N. DE GUZMAN

By Denise A. Valdez, Senior Reporter

THE DEMAND for office space in the country dropped 74% in the first six months of 2020 as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) began their exodus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a recent report by real estate consultancy firm Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), POGOs were found vacating 48,000 square meters (sq.m.) of office space from March to June, making up 54% of the 89,000 sq.m. of vacated space during the period.

POGOs also recorded zero demand from April to June. LPC tallied 77,000 sq.m. of transactions during the period, most of which were from the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector with 42,000 sq.m. of demand.

This resulted in a drop in first-half transactions to 234,000 sq.m. this year from 885,000 sq.m. last year. The composition was also disrupted as POGOs shrunk to 12% of the pie from 40% last year. IT-BPM made up 40% of the composition this year from 41% last year, and other occupiers such as traditional offices grew to 48% of the pie from 19% last year.

LPC is adjusting its yearend forecast to a range of 600,000 to 800,000 sq.m. of office space demand, down from its initial estimate of 800,000 to 1 million sq.m. office transactions.

Despite this, LPC President and CEO David T. Leechiu said the Philippine office market remains “unique in the world” for continuing to record new leases, albeit much less from last year.

“The Philippine office segment has not yet entered a point of contraction,” Mr. Leechiu said. He added support is needed for both the IT-BPM and POGO sectors to fuel the growth of the property sector.

The firm noted the growth of POGOs was stunted by tax regulations and restrictions in movement, as the government put parts of the country in lockdown since March to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

But LPC expects an office space demand of 482,000 sq.m. in the pipeline, of which about 68% will come from the IT-BPM and POGO sectors, and about 323,000 sq.m. will be in Metro Manila.

“The sustained growth of these sectors will allow us to bounce back from this pandemic swiftly. We need as many employers as possible to help our economy,” Mr. Leechiu said.

On the residential segment, LPC said it drew activity from transactions in the Metro Manila condominium market, but no new projects were launched in the second quarter due to quarantine restrictions.

LPC said developers are on a wait-and-see mode as unit sales have been dropping quarter on quarter, shrinking 36% for the January-to-March period, and remaining flat with a 0.2% uptick in April-to-June.

There are now only 23,379 condominium units in Metro Manila’s supply pool, 86% of which are from the middle-income bracket.

The firm said sales from most segments of the middle-income bracket have been declining in the second quarter, due to job losses both locally and abroad. It was offset only by the upscale segment, which posted a sales growth of 35%.

LPC also said large developers remain firm about pricing levels for both primary and secondary units, despite the softening of capital values in central business districts by 5% to 10%. They instead offer cash discounts, lower reservation fees and down payments and flexible payment schemes to spur demand.

“Most owners in high-end gated villages appeared to be holding on to their properties for capital preservation purposes. Owners who do sell at a discount would likely be in need of immediate cash,” it said.

As for the tourism sector, LPC said recovery is expected to come from domestic travelers, mostly in the Luzon area where destinations can be reached by land.

“Despite the looming negativity, LPC is optimistic that the Philippines will have a rapid economic recovery due to a number of simultaneous and conspiring cocktail of virtuous events within the next 6-12 month,” it said, naming infrastructure projects and the continued deflation of interest rates, among others. 

PHirst Park Homes expands in Pampanga

August 4, 2020 | 12:04 am [ ]

PHIRST PARK HOMES, INC. (PPHI) is expanding in Pampanga, after it bought a 10-hectare property in Magalang.

PPHI President Ricky M. Celis said the company decided to launch its seventh horizontal housing development after seeing strong sales in the first half of the year.

“PHirst Park Homes has maintained its sales momentum and is quite pleased by the market’s demand for house-and-lot units. Our positive sales for the first half of 2020 sets us on track with our next development launch, which will be our second project in the north and seventh in total,” he said in a statement.

The first phase of the new project will offer over 500 house-and-lot units.

Despite the pandemic, Mr. Celis noted there is robust demand for affordable housing “because families are prioritizing home ownership as a prime essential, and there is renewed interest in living in safe, less congested communities outside of Metro Manila.”

The joint-venture company of Century Properties Group and Mitsubishi Corp. posted reservation sales of 1,548 units worth P3.12 billion for the first six months of 2020. These cover sales from PPHI’s six projects.

Housing developers go digital amid pandemic

July 28, 2020 | 12:01 am []


PROPERTY DEVELOPERS are turning to digital tools to boost home sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Companies are still seeing demand for residential projects, as buyers look to take advantage of record-low interest rates.

Here’s how some companies are going digital:

Century Properties Group (CPG) saw buyers making reservations for housing units even during the strict lockdown.

“We continue to improve on our services to make the customer journey more convenient for our clients, to allow them and their families to enjoy their dream homes much sooner, and also make the process smooth and safe both for our team and customers,” CPG Vice-Chairman John Victor R. Antonio said in a statement.

Virtual tours are available on CPG’s project websites, including ready-for-occupancy units at the Residences at Commonwealth in Quezon City, the Residences at Azure North in San Fernando, Pampanga; Acqua Private Residences in Mandaluyong City; and Batulao Artscapes in Batangas.

CPG agents can help customers check available units on the website, while reservation payments can be made through online platforms. Buyer forms can also be filled out at home.

The company said certain steps for unit turnover are also available digitally for buyers.

“Home ownership should be celebrated as a family milestone and not cause any untoward stress for customers. Our goal is to make the entire experience seamless and worry-free so that buyers can focus on enjoying the next chapter of their lives with their families,” Mr. Antonio said.

Consunji-led DMCI Homes said it redesigned its website to include features to show which units are still available for sale and to allow users to compare three prospective properties.

DMCI Homes said the website will also suggest properties near a user’s preferred location. The website also offers property virtual tours and walkthroughs of DMCI Homes properties.
It also digitized its pre-purchase processes — from the online client registration, unit holding, up to the reservation and payment.

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we have been harnessing IT capabilities to make homebuying a seamless process. We have redesigned our corporate website to be more responsive to the needs of our customers and we have also made available electronic forms to allow homebuyers to accomplish and submit them when convenient,” Jan Venturanza, DMCI Homes head for IT, marketing and customer care, said in a statement.

DMCI Homes also launched live online presentations for prospective condominium buyers.
AboitizLand, Inc. and Robinsons Land Corp. earlier introduced digital-based home buying options to clients amid the lockdown.

Megaworld Corp., which introduced digital sales strategies two years ago, said it generated around P17 billion in reservation sales in the second quarter when most parts of the country were still under an “enhanced community quarantine.”

“While the method of selling real estate during quarantine period was quite challenging, our digital sales strategies that we’ve been working on since two years ago paved the way for faster, smoother and safer transactions, and client engagements,” Lourdes Gutierrez-Alfonso, chief operating officer of Megaworld, said in a statement on July 21.

Megaworld raises P3 billion from continued lot sale

July 27, 2020 | 12:03 am [ ]

MEGAWORLD CORP. has generated P3 billion from having completely sold out a residential village in Cavite while under quarantine.

In a statement over the weekend, the Andrew L. Tan-led property developer said it sold all lots at its 18-hectare upscale residential village, Arden Botanical Village, last month.

This despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and two price increases implemented in January and May.

“Amid the lockdown, we have booked sales from buyers in the Philippines and across the world who were looking for purposeful, more livable spaces to build a house,” said Eugene Em Lozano, first vice-president for sales and marketing at Megaworld.

The project is located within Megaworld’s 251-hectare Arden Botanical Estate in Trece Martires. It was launched almost seven months ago and offered a total of 329 lots to buyers.
“A P7-million lot bought when we started selling late last year can now be sold at almost P9.5 million. Our early takers are so happy with their investments today,” Mr. Lozano said.

The lots are scheduled to be turned over to buyers starting 2024.

“Arden Botanical Village’s concept gave us a convenient push, and the unique concept of Arden Botanical Estate as an integrated lifestyle community was a huge factor in selling this fast even amidst the pandemic,” Mr. Lozano said.
The 251-hectare Arden Botanical Estate, where Arden Botanical Village is located, is a joint development of Megaworld and its listed subsidiary Global-Estate Resorts, Inc. (GERI). Both Megaworld and GERI are allocating P18 billion to develop the project over a 10-year period.

In the first quarter, Megaworld posted a 9% profit decline to P3.5 billion due to the impact of the Taal Volcano eruption and the coronavirus pandemic to its operations. Residential sales were flat at P9.6 billion due to the delayed construction of its ongoing projects.

The company has set a P36-billion budget for capital expenditures this year, lower by 40% from its initial allocation, in consideration of the effects of the ongoing pandemic.

Shares in Megaworld closed at P3.07 apiece on Friday, down seven centavos or 2.23% from a day earlier. — Denise A. Valdez

Megaworld to launch residential condo tower in Bacolod township

July 24, 2020 | 12:08 am [ ]

MEGAWORLD CORP. is building a new condominium tower in Bacolod City that could raise P1.6 billion in sales for the company.

In a statement, Thursday, the property developer said it is planning to launch a 14-storey residential building within its 34-hectare The Upper East township.

The project is set for completion in 2025 and will be the third residential property in the township.

To be called One Manhattan, the tower will have 260 units varying from studio (up to 33 square meters), one bedroom (up to 85 sq. m.), two bedrooms (up to 112 sq. m.) and three bedrooms (up to 153 sq. m.).

The units that have one to three bedrooms will have different layout choices, such as bi-level garden units and loft units with lanai or balcony.

The property will also have amenities such as a wall climbing facility, putting green, mini track oval with gym and outdoor Jacuzzi.

It will likewise feature an exclusive bar and lounge at the roofdeck, a private dining room, adult and kiddie pools, pool deck with an outdoor shower area, game and entertainment room, function hall, reading nooks, outdoor seating areas and an outdoor children’s play area.

“This is our first residential development in Bacolod with more generous unit layouts and sizes, as well as generous unique amenities. Our loft units are first of their kind because we hope to give the best for Bacolod,” said Jennifer Palmares-Fong, Megaworld Bacolod vice-president for sales and marketing, in the statement.

The company noted condominium prices in the township have appreciated by 40% since it opened its first residential project in 2018.

Megaworld’s The Upper East township is planned to be Bacolod’s commercial and business process outsourcing (BPO) district, inspired by New York City’s Upper East Side.

The company is investing P35 billion to develop the township over a 10-year period, which will include building mixed-use commercial centers, residential condominiums, BPO buildings, IT parks, and transportation and retail businesses across the property.

Earnings of Megaworld dipped 9% to P3.5 billion in the first quarter, attributable to the decline of its hotel business whose revenues fell 4% to P551 million.

Shares in Megaworld at the stock exchange slid six centavos or 1.88% to P3.14 each on Thursday. — Denise A. Valdez

Ayala Land sets REIT offer price at P27 each

July 23, 2020 | 12:05 am [ ]

AYALA LAND, INC. (ALI) has finalized the offer price for its maiden real estate investment trust (REIT) offering at P27 per share.

BPI Capital Corp., the sole global coordinator and stabilizing agent for the offering, told the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) on Wednesday that ALI will be offering REIT shares at P27 each.

ALI is doing its REIT offering through AREIT, Inc., which will be selling 456.88 million shares with an overallotment option of 45.69 million shares.

The final offer price is lower than the initial P30.05 per share that the company indicated in the prospectus it submitted to the PSE and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Based on the final price, ALI could raise up to P13.57 billion from the REIT offering, assuming the full utilization of its overallotment option.

When the PSE approved ALI’s REIT application last week, it said the company’s offer period will be from July 27 to Aug. 3, with listing at the PSE main board tentatively scheduled on Aug. 13.

AREIT’s portfolio currently consists of three office buildings in Makati City: 24-storey commercial building Solaris One, two-tower mixed-use development Ayala North Exchange and five-storey commercial office McKinley Exchange.

ALI intends to use the proceeds from the REIT offering to buy Teleperformance Cebu and to invest in other real estate properties in Metro Manila and key regions.

Aside from BPI, AREIT tapped PNB Capital & Investment Corp. and SB Capital Investment Corp. as domestic co-lead underwriters, and BPI Capital and UBS AG Singapore Branch as joint bookrunners for the offering.

ALI is set to be the first property developer to do a REIT offering in the Philippines. Earnings of ALI in the first quarter stood at P4.3 billion, down 41% from a year ago, as bookings and project completions were dampened by the Taal Volcano eruption and the coronavirus-related lockdown.

Shares in ALI at the stock exchange shed 20 centavos or 0.60% to P33 each on Wednesday. — Denise A. Valdez

Taguig City being evaluated as potential agri-industrial site

July 21, 2020 | 6:52 pm [ ]

TAGUIG CITY is being evaluated as a potential agri-industrial site because its location on the shore of Laguna de Bay could make it a landing spot for produce grown in Metro Manila’s southern and eastern hinterlands.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said Monday that the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) current partnership with the city could be a launch pad for further cooperation in developing agri-industrial operations, to process food and add value to the harvests of farmers and fisherfolk in Rizal, Laguna and beyond.

On Monday the DA launched an agricultural assistance program to enhance the city’s urban food security and nutrition.

Mr. Dar said the project could serve as the initial stage for the establishment of an agri-industrial center.

“Farmers and fisherfolk from Rizal and Laguna could come directly to Taguig using their boats to bring their produce and see to it that we have all the cold storage, warehouses, and of course the markets for people to (visit) in a big way,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar said the program will also assist vulnerable communities and help develop Taguig’s urban ecological management.

According to Mr. Dar, agri-industrial sites are expected to provide facilities, capital, and production know-how to small farmers, while also boosting their productivity and generating jobs to strengthen the economy.

The DA is also hoping to develop New Clark City in Tarlac province as an agri-industrial center. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Health and well-being will be top priorities for office tenants — report

July 21, 2020 | 2:25 pm [ ]

Co-working spaces will be ‘much more threatened’
By Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo

The office market is expected to bounce back from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in around 18 to 24 months, said real estate services firm JLL Philippines.

Related story: Office pre-commitment rates still healthy — report

In an online forum held on July 17, Janlo de los Reyes, head of research at JLL Philippines, discussed the changes that players in the office market should expect and what they can do in anticipation of these changes.

Tenants will prioritize the health and well-being of their employees as the possibility of contracting the virus remains very imminent, focusing on proper sanitation in their facilities and implementation of internal health protocols. They will also shift to remote work setups or shed memberships in flexible workspaces to help bolster their cash flow.

“A lot of their current occupiers are now preferring to stay at home. Even if they do have to sacrifice, for example, internet connectivity and the collaborative work environment, at least they are able to prioritize their safety and are still able to work on what they need to do within their respective homes,” said Mr. de los Reyes.

In order to adapt to this, operators must ensure that they are adhering to health and sanitation guidelines imposed by the government. They must also consider adjusting the layout of their facilities given the changes brought about by social distancing, such as limited room capacity. According to Mr. de los Reyes, serviced offices have begun to appeal more to occupiers over flexible workspaces due to their more enclosed setups.

“We’re trying to observe physical distancing, and it’s quite difficult to manage or even control the movement and the circulation of employees within the office premises. That’s why we think that co-working spaces, which operate under a much more open and collaborative layout, will be much more threatened,” he said.


At this point, the priority of tenants will have shifted to business continuity and operational resilience. There may also be an increase in work mobility programs among organizations; this includes initiatives such as the splitting of bigger sites into satellite offices scattered across various locations.

“The motivation behind it is that companies will want to be located near to where their employees are. This is for them to be able to ensure that they address the shortage of public transportation,” said Mr. de los Reyes, who added that operators should stay in touch with clients and extend their help when needed.

“At the end of the day, this pandemic will be gone, whether that’s going to be in 2021 or 2022… it’s important that we make sure that we are connected within that ecosystem that we operate in so that when the market resumes or stabilizes, at least we still have those relationships ongoing and that we’ve done our part in helping them also tide over this pandemic,” he said.

Practices that employees adopted formerly as a means to deal with the pandemic will eventually become a part of their work lifestyle. Health and well-being will remain a priority; remote work arrangements, provision of seats in flexible workspaces, and establishment of satellite offices will become the norm.

This emphasis on flexibility may change the way operators offer their leases. “A lot of occupiers are looking for the most flexible arrangement and the shortest lease that they can find to have that flexibility to close shop or expand their facility. This goes back to the uncertainty that we’re seeing in the market,” said Mr. de los Reyes.

He also believes that there will be an increase in demand for high-quality flexible workspaces among tenants. “A lot of the operators are going to compete in terms of how to retain or attract new demand coming in. I advise them to take a look at the overall ecosystem and analyze how to enhance that collaborative environment while maintaining that safety among their occupiers,” he said.

“The State of Real Estate, Offices, Co-working Spaces: Moving Forward to the New Normal” was an online forum organized by co-working space OpenSpace.


Work on Bulacan airport to start in Oct.

July 21, 2020 | 12:34 am [ ]

Work on the Bulacan airport project is expected to start by the fourth quarter. Courtesy of San Miguel Corp.
By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

SAN MIGUEL Corp. is planning to break ground on the P734-billion Bulacan airport project in October, according to the Department of Transportation (DoTr).

“They said they will do the groundbreaking after the ghost month,” Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran told BusinessWorld in a phone message on Monday.

“Ghost month” refers to the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. In business, starting a venture during this month is believed to be inauspicious. This year, ghost month runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 16.

Groundbreaking for the airport mega-project was initially scheduled in January.

SMC Chief Finance Officer Ferdinand K. Constantino said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on June 30 the Bulacan airport project will proceed despite the coronavirus crisis. He said jobs that will be created through SMC’s projects will help reset the economy.

San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC) is the SMC subsidiary handling the project, which involves the construction of a 2,400-hectare aviation hub with four parallel runways (expandable to six runways), eight taxiways and three passenger terminal buildings.

The first two runways are expected to be finished in three years at the earliest, while the rest will be completed in four to five years.

SMHC and DoTr signed the concession agreement for the airport in September 2019. Under the concession deal, SMHC will build, operate and maintain the New Manila International Airport for 50 years.

The project also includes the construction of an 8.4-kilometer toll road which will link the gateway to the North Luzon Expressway.

San Miguel tapped Groupe ADP (Aeroports de Paris), Meinhardt Group and Jacobs Engineering Group for the design of the project.

The airport targets to have an annual capacity of 100 million travelers, which the government hopes will help decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.


However, Avelino D.L. Zapanta, an aviation industry expert, remains skeptical about the proposed airports in Bulacan and Cavite, especially as the country faces a crisis.

“I have been skeptical about both the Bulacan and Sangley projects. I believe the timetable for both will now be pushed back if not terminated,” he said in a recent e-mail interview, adding that the airports are currently “the ones putting much restrictions on airline operations.”

Aside from the Bulacan airport, another airport project is being proposed in Sangley, Cavite. The province of Cavite has yet to receive from MacroAsia Corp. and its Chinese partner the post-qualification requirements for the proposed $10-billion Sangley Point International Airport.

“Even the local government units that used to court airport construction are the ones rejecting flights. Unless the vaccine is discovered, the apprehension will remain and the demand will remain weak,” Mr. Zapanta, former CEO and president of Philippine Airlines, said.

PSE screens brokers for first REIT trade

July 20, 2020 | 12:05 am [ ]


By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) has started accepting applications for eligible brokers to trade real estate investment trust (REIT) securities ahead of Ayala Land, Inc.’s (ALI) REIT offering.

In a July 15 memorandum on its website, the PSE said it would accept applications for eligible brokers at least one day before the price setting of a REIT initial public offering (IPO).

ALI’s approved REIT offering has its price setting scheduled on July 22, based on the PSE’s disclosure at the PSE EDGE website on Friday. The offer period will begin on July 27 and end on Aug. 3, and the listing date is tentatively set on Aug. 13.

Interested participants in the offering must tap eligible brokers approved by the PSE. Like in trading dollar-denominated securities, trading REITs may only be done through eligible brokers.

Eligible brokers are trading participants that have attended a PSE-organized REIT seminar and have a sworn certification of operational readiness.

To qualify for the 20% broker allocation, a trading participant must submit its application to the PSE at least one day before the price setting of a REIT IPO.

To participate in the 10% allocation for local small investors via the PSE EASy website, a trading participant must submit its application at least one day before the end of the offer period of a REIT IPO.

But the PSE said it “highly recommends that (trading participants) submit their applications as early as possible to be able to participate in a REIT IPO.”

The PSE will upload a list of all confirmed REIT eligible brokers as reference for the investing public. All related REIT information may be found on

ALI’s REIT is set to be the Philippines’ first REIT offering in history, to be done through AREIT, Inc. The company will be offering 456.88 million shares with an overallotment option of 45.69 million shares.

The offer’s indicative price is up to P30.05 per share, which would generate about P15.1 billion in proceeds for the company.

In a statement over the weekend, PSE President and CEO Ramon S. Monzon said the bourse operator is optimistic that ALI’s REIT offering will have a “positive multiplier effect on the economy.”

“We are pleased that AREIT has decided to pursue its IPO even under the present economic challenges… We are optimistic that the company’s IPO will pave the way for other property firms, even those that are not yet listed in the PSE, to consider listing REITs,” Mr. Monzon said.

Aside from ALI, DoubleDragon Properties Corp. earlier announced plans to do a P16.97-billion REIT offering in the fourth quarter.

Century Properties restarts high-rise project construction

July 14, 2020 | 12:02 am [ ]

CENTURY Properties Group (CPG) resumed construction operations for several of its projects in Makati, Quezon City, and San Fernando in Pampanga.

The developer said it conducted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rapid testing of nearly a thousand workers and site personnel, as well as completing requirements such as the provision of on-site quarters and facilities for its project sites in Century City, Makati; the Residences at Azure North in San Fernando, Pampanga; and the Residences at Commonwealth in Quezon City.

In May, CPG tested over 800 workers in the five project sites of affordable housing unit PHirst Park Homes located in Tanza, Cavite; Lipa, Batangas; San Pablo and Calamba, Laguna; and Pandi, Bulacan.

Overall, CPG has tested more than 1,735 construction workers and site personnel.

“Despite the most challenging circumstances, we are forging ahead with construction work to deliver our commitment to our buyers, but with the proper safety measures for our people. Critical health protocols like this contribute to the safety and wellbeing of the communities and cities where we operate in,” CPG President and CEO Marco R. Antonio said in a statement.

Arthaland offers virtual tours for Laguna township

July 14, 2020 | 12:04 am [ ]

ARTHALAND Corp. is offering guided virtual tours for Sevina Park in Biñan, Laguna.
By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

ARTHALAND Corp. is launching guided virtual tours for its township development Sevina Park in Biñan, Laguna, while some prospective buyers hold off on purchases while unable to see the property during the lockdown.

Interest in the development in terms of e-mails and calls spiked by around 100% during the lockdown, but Arthaland SVP for Sales Operations Oliver L. Chan confirmed in an online interview on Thursday that there has been some delays in purchases as buyers wait for the lifting of the lockdown.

“That’s normal as of the moment, but I think it’s more of the Filipino culture that they want to see it themselves, so during the hard ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) we did get some people saying that okay I’m very much interested but can I wait until after the ECQ so I can visit the model units?” he said, adding that some customers decided to purchase units after online meetings.

The virtual tours, guided by Arthaland sales people, will be launched on June 30.

“The guided virtual tour shows completely the different specifications and advantages of investing in our project,” Mr. Chan said.

Details on Sevina Park can also be viewed via their mobile application. Arthaland will also put up a virtual concierge on the property, where individuals can speak to a customer service representative through a monitor.

The spike in interest, according to Vice-President for Marketing Ma. Angelina B. Magsanoc, comes from a shift in priorities among buyers during the pandemic.

“The crisis has really reinforced or has changed the mindset of people significantly. Before, walang pake with the environment, they’re not really into it… people’s priorities have changed. It’s now into keeping safe, keeping healthy, so that’s why our sustainable projects now are highlighted,” she said.

She said the property offers large open spaces and uses non-toxic materials. The air filter and air-conditioning systems are screened by the US Green Building Council.

The eight-hectare Sevina Park is the first township in the country to attain the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification for neighborhood development.

Mr. Chan said that to achieve the certification, Arthaland paid attention to the types of materials used in designing the property and disposal measures during construction, and incorporated rain water collection for plant irrigation, among others.

The township has a total of 108 vilas ranging from two to four bedrooms with 138 to 182 square meters each.

Amenities include a social hall, fitness hub, game area, yoga and dance studio, a children’s play area, open activity laws, walking paths, activity deck, a 25-meter pool, leisure pool, children’s pool, and sun deck.

The company had sold 90% of its first tranche a few weeks after its first release in November, rolling out a second tranche by February 2020.

Turnover of villas begins in mid-2021 or up to the third quarter next year, while turnover for apartments and the commercial block will be scheduled for a later date.

Mr. Chan said that Arthaland continues to be on track in its five times growth in five years plan.

Cavite Light Industrial Park ready for ‘new normal’

July 14, 2020 | 12:03 am [ ]

CATHAY Land, Inc. expects Cavite Light Industrial Park (CLIP) to take advantage of the spike in demand for logistics, industrial and suburban residential spaces, as more people look for safe and accessible integrated communities amid the pandemic.

Cathay Land President Jeffrey Ng said CLIP’s industrial component is “ready to take in new locators that will set up the most modern, safe and highly competitive manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, cold-storage and commissary operations.”

Mallorca Villas, which is part of CLIP’s Mallorca City, is targeting professionals and executives who want bigger houses to allow them to work from home while their children take online classes.

“Experts are one in saying that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, crowded cities will give way to suburban developments where people can work and live in an environment that is safe and provides ample space for flexible work and schooling arrangements. We, in Cathay Land, recognize this, which is why have taken fresh initiatives to make sure we can provide this kind of safe and modern environment to CLIP locators and residents,” Mr. Ng said.

Located in Silang, Cavite, CLIP is an ideal site for logistics and industrial investors in the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas area.

Cathay Land is now offering commercial lots with an average cut of 300 square meters (sq. m.) inside the Mallorca City. Commercial lots are also offered at Mallorca Villas. Lot buyers can build structures up to 15 meters high.

“The industrial and commercial components of CLIP are ready for locators who are now shifting to the New Normal of doing business,” Mr. Ng said.

ALI counts on residential segment for Q2 sales growth

July 13, 2020 | 12:05 am [ ]

AYALA Land, Inc. (ALI) is optimistic its residential business will cushion the decline from other segments as it recorded growth in sales during the second quarter.

In a statement over the weekend, the listed property developer said it was “seeing encouraging signs” in its residential business, as this segment showed increasing sales from April to May and April to June despite the strict lockdown.

“We’re seeing a pick-up in activity in residential sales as early as now. We hope that positive trend will continue,” ALI President and Chief Executive Officer Bernard Vincent O. Dy was quoted in the statement as saying.

The company noted its mall segment continues to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, as malls remained closed for most parts of the second quarter, and to date, are still on limited operations.

ALI’s hotel and resorts segment likewise remain dampened as travel is still restricted to contain the coronavirus.

In the first quarter, ALI’s earnings fell 41% to P4.3 billion due to lower bookings and project completions, which it attributed to the Taal Volcano eruption in January and the lockdown in mid-March.

Nearly all its business segments recorded revenue declines during the period, except for its office leasing business, which posted a 15% revenue growth to P2.5 billion due to the sustained operations of the outsourcing industry.

Despite this backdrop, Mr. Dy said the company remains hopeful it will weather the coronavirus storm on the back of the Philippine’s strong economy, citing low interest rates, low inflation rate and stable exchange rates.

“If you look at long term trends of property, taking into account various economic cycles, I believe property continues to be one of the best, if not the best, performing asset class,” he said.

Mr. Dy added ALI has yet to see a meaningful price correction, and believes there would not be price reductions as large as during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, when capital values fell as much as 14% and office rents by 16%.

Last week, ALI received the go-ahead from the Securities and Exchange Commission to do a P15.1-billion real estate investment trust (REIT) offering by July 27-31.

If it proceeds, this would be the country’s first REIT offering in history, and the shares will start trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Aug. 7.

Shares in ALI at the stock exchange dropped 95 centavos or 2.88% to close at P32 each on Friday. — Denise A. Valdez

Fewer big malls, more town centers after pandemic

June 30, 2020 | 12:03 am [ ]

SHOPPING malls have started implementing health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. — PHOTO BY CATHY ROSE A. GARCIA

THERE will be fewer regional super malls and more town centers as the pandemic forces a drastic change in consumer behavior, according to a leading urban planner.

Felino A. Palafox, Jr., principal architect-urban planner and founding partner of Palafox Associates, said he expects development to shift from shopping malls towards stand-alone restaurants and shops, as well as outdoor kiosks.

“The suburbs will thrive, because the suburbs are dormitory towns… more shopping, dining, working will be in the suburbs. The downtowns, the CBDs (central business districts) will become less important, less desirable,” he said in a webinar organized by the Philippine Franchise Association in June.

As the Philippines continues to see a rising number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, consumers have stayed away from shopping malls out of fear.

In a bid to reassure consumers, malls have implemented health and safety measures such as limiting the number of people inside, temperature checks and regular disinfection of public areas.

Mr. Palafox said restaurants should have more natural light, ventilation, and spacing. He also expects more al fresco or open air dining.

“I’m doing some calculations now. Maybe the future restaurants will be 30% kitchen area, 30% dine-in, and 40% al-fresco — outside,” he said.

Restaurants have been allowed to restart some dine-in operations at limited capacities. For areas under general community quarantine, restaurants may have 30% of their dine-in capacity while areas under modified general community quarantine may increase this capacity up to 50%.

At the same time, Mr. Palafox said the Philippine Building Code must be revisited to lower the density of people in residential and office buildings.

“Our office could accommodate 100 persons. Now we redesigned it, it will accommodate only 28 persons. There will be a lot of adjustments,” he said.

Mr. Palafox emphasized the need for more parks and open spaces as well as bigger sidewalks and plazas in Metro Manila. He added there should be more bicycle parking.

He expects that residences will soon have disinfection rooms, isolation rooms, and kitchen gardens. — JPI

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